Brzeg Town Hall is a Renaissance building designed by Bernard Niuron built between 1569 and 1577. It is considered to be one of the most important Renaissance monuments in Poland. In addition to its role as the seat of the municipal government of Brzeg, the building houses several other institutions.
The first building housing the municipal government in Brzeg already existed in the 14th century but was burned down in the town's great fire during the reign of George II of Brieg. The present town hall was built between 1569 and 1577. It was designed by the Italian architect Bernardo Niuron, assisted by the Italian builder Jakub Parr. In later years, the building underwent minor alterations in some of its rooms which were adapted for administrative purposes. In 1926, a Renaissance gate, from one of the Brzeg townhouses, was added to the southern façade.
The town hall is a Renaissance structure built in the town square, surrounded by an inner courtyard of townhouses. It has two storeys and a saddle roof. The most interesting part of the building is its western side. In the corner there are two quadrangular towers with tented roofs and roof lanterns. Between them spans a five-axis loggia, with semicircular arches on the ground floor. Over the loggia there is another level with windows which are separated by a cornice from the mansard roof. Fragments of the façade are covered with sgraffito decorations from the seventeenth-century. There is a four-sided central tower with an octagonal cupola topped with a balustrade and two roof lanterns. The interiors have been preserved with halls and corridors of the original design, most notably the Hall of Councillors with its wall paintings and fine ceiling.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.